Here are five things worth knowing today:
1. Traffic deaths were up 8% last year compared to the previous year. And, according to Governing.com, there are two reasons for that: One is an improving economy, and the other is a wide variance in state laws “that aren’t doing enough to curb fatalities.” According to the report, economic recoveries typically coincide with higher fatality rates as families have more discretionary income, take extra vacations and travel more on weekends. Governing.com has more.
2. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that $500 million will be made available for transportation projects across the country under an eighth round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, the Department of Transportation reports. The 2016 TIGER grants will fund discretionary capital investments in surface transportation and infrastructure and will be rewarded on a competitive basis for projects that have a significant impact on the nation, U.S. DOT says.
3. Nevada’s Department of Transportation is extending the westbound Cave Rock tunnel on U.S. Highway 50 by 60 feet after a massive boulder tumbled into traffic in the Glenbrook area recently, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. According to the report, after the boulder is dismantled and removed, NDOT will re-pave sections of the roadway. The highway will remain open throughout the week, but lanes will be reduced and delays are expected.
4. Crude Oil prices have fallen 23% in 2016, and 70% in the last 20 months. They are prices the world hasn’t seen in more than a decade. In the United States that has sent gasoline prices plummeting; with the national average for a gallon of Regular Unleaded hovering around $1.70 per gallon. According to AAA that’s 55 cents less than this time last year. In his paper “Compliance Path and Impact of Ethanol Mandates on Retail Fuel Market in the Short Run,” Professor Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University says oil companies were making “thoroughly outrageous claims” about what it would cost them, and you, to keep up with the plan to reduce greenhouse emissions. This paper was recently selected to be published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.
5. Several states are considering more secure seat belt laws for school buses, Governing.com reports. Currently, California is the only state in the country that requires lap and shoulder belts on all newly-manufactured school buses. Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommended that students wear lap and shoulder belts on all school buses. Governing.com has more.